I will never forget the thunder of the pounding water that surrounded us as we floated into the mist created by Niagara Falls.
That moment was one of my all-time favorite experiences. Seeing the smile on my kid’s face made it even more special. God-created nature made the moment possible—not a video game or man-made roller coaster. The intensity, the power, the beauty… wow! Seriously, wow!
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen a few other wow travel experiences through the years. What you won’t always see on social media are the I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening (and not in a good way) moments. Not because I don’t want to be transparent about our real life, but because those are the moments that happen when I’m not prepared or am too angry or frustrated or scared to remember to take a picture.
Lest you think that our attempts at living an adventurous life are always picture perfect, let me add the reality filter: In the past few months…
- Our house rolled down a hill (not far, but far enough for the scene to replay itself in my nightmares),
- We’ve had to back up (up a hill) on a highway because we were too tall to pass through a covered bridge
- I’ve gotten us stuck at (on) the fuel pump (and pulled the facing off said pump),
- We’ve had a sewer spill (the memory of the smell still makes us want to retch),
- We’ve had unbelievably noisy, obnoxious neighbors (and we’ve apparently been those neighbors, too).
And those are just the highlights of our mishaps and misadventures! I’m sure that, at some point, each of these horrific memories will be their own blog post that will make you cringe and laugh at the same time.
As with any good adventure, we’ve experienced plenty of moments that have made us consider calling it quits. Sometimes we wish for the simple things—a solid, non-moving house, fixed plumbing, plenty of space to get dressed in the morning, a fridge that can hold more than two days-worth of groceries. Little did we realize those everyday things would ever seem like tempting luxuries calling us back to suburbia.
Do we miss them? Sure.
Is missing them enough to make us want to quit? No. At least not when we step back and consider what it would cost in terms of experiences, freedom, and yes, adventure. When we get to a rational state of mind, and away from the heat of the moment, we remember everything in life is a tradeoff. You do—and continue doing—what’s important to you, regardless of the challenges.
No matter what your adventure is, I hope you’ll stick it out and see it through. Because those luxuries—the things you miss from your old life—really aren’t as grand as you imagine them to be. Here’s what I mean:
- If you are married and thinking about how much simpler life was when you were single,
- If you are working to build a business and are wistfully remembering the convenience of a “secure job” and a steady paycheck,
- If you are daring to step out and do something different with your life but feel uncertainty tugging at you, trying to pull you back to a safer life,
- If you are trying to trust and follow God but are surrounded by people who tell you the only way to live is “me-first” … and it seems to be working for them…
Don’t give up.
Don’t quit just because things are hard. Like Tom Hanks’ character, Jimmy Dugan, says in A League of Their Own when Dottie (Geena Davis) tells him baseball just got too hard: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”
Eventually, we probably will go back to a “regular” house. But I truly hope it isn’t frustration or fear that brings this particular journey to an end. If/when we land, I want it to be because we have a sense of calling to be in a specific place, not because we gave up or couldn’t hack the hard times.
It isn’t always easy. Some parts of the adventure stink (literally!). But what we learn and experience along the way… that’s what makes it great.
What about your adventure? What makes you want to quit? What keeps you going despite the challenges?